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Home E-Weekly September 26, 2017

Migrating Vein Filter Results in $3.2M Verdict

Published: September 25, 2017

CODE BLUE The patient collapsed while officiating a lacrosse match.

The failure to recognize that a vein filter had migrated into a Pennsylvania man's heart may have cost him his life, and has led to a $3.2 million jury award against a suburban Philadelphia hospital and 3 physicians.

Ernest Lucchesi had a cardiac arrest while officiating a lacrosse match, roughly 6 months after the filter, which was designed to prevent blood clots, was implanted, according to a news report.

At the emergency room of Mercy Suburban Hospital, in Norristown, Pa., where Mr. Lucchesi was taken, David Bolden, DO, reportedly failed to recognize that the filter had migrated to his atrial valve. Mr. Lucchesi died 3 days after being discharged from the hospital.

In awarding, $1.5 million for wrongful death and $1.7 million under the Survival Act to Mr. Lucchesi's family, the jury found Dr. Bolden 25% negligent, vascular surgeon Hugh Lipshutz, MD, 31% negligent and cardiologist John J. Flanagan, MD, 44% negligent. It's not clear exactly what roles Drs. Lipshutz and Flanagan had in the sequence of events.

The physicians reportedly had argued that open heart surgery to correct the migration would have likely been fatal, because the implant had pierced Mr. Lucchesi's heart. None of Dr. Lipshutz, Dr. Flanagan, nor the hospital, returned calls for comments. Dr. Bolden is retired and could not be reached for comment.

Jim Burger

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